Rachel Lewis Hilburn

CoastLine Host, Senior Reporter

Rachel hosts WHQR's local public affairs show, CoastLine, which she helped to create.  She also reports on issues affecting southeastern North Carolina.  Before joining WHQR, Rachel wrote and produced local TV newscasts for the Wilmington ABC-TV affiliate. She also wrote and produced a 30-minute TV special program for the Cape Fear Museum showcasing its renovation and new exhibits, and she independently wrote and produced a documentary on the lingering effects of the 1898 coup d'etat in Wilmington.   

Ways to Connect


Covid-19 is now the leading cause of death in the United States.  Officials in North Carolina are watching the state numbers rise as calls for reopening the state grow louder.


Each Sunday night at 5 PM, on a Wilmington street named for a southern flower, a few neighbors gather outside their houses for the big show.  Children, parents, grandparents, and even some college students sit or stand at social distances for a new way to stay connected. 

 WFAE, WUNC, WHQR and other public radio stations from around North Carolina join together to look at the impact of COVID-19 on the health, economy, and education of the state.


The Artist’s Way, A Course In Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self, first landed in booktores before the age of Amazon – in 1992.  Almost three decades later, Author Julia Cameron can point to a long list of published works, more than 40, fiction and nonfiction -- many of them bestsellers.  They include The Vein of Gold, The Right To Write, Finding Water, Transitions, and her own memoir, Floor Sample.  The woman who "invented the way people renovate the creative soul", according to The New York Times, has used her own life as a laboratory for developing her processes

Pleasure Island Rentals

If the stay-at-home orders last into summer, businesses like Britt’s Donuts on the Carolina Beach boardwalk in New Hanover County will have to stay shuttered.  In Brunswick County, Southport has cancelled its summer market and concert series, and the official North Carolina Fourth of July Festival, which draws tens of thousands of tourists.  


The Coronavirus crisis has not left many sectors of the economy alone in its destruction – with the possible exception of manufacturers of toilet paper, hand sanitizer, face masks, ventilators and other items in short supply right now.  

Temple of Israel

High holy days for three major world religions all occur in April this year.  Muslims observe the month of Ramadan beginning April 23rd.  Jews mark the week of Passover starting tonight, and Christians celebrate Easter this Sunday.  While the holidays traditionally mean larger congregations and shared meals, the 2020 versions will be more solitary.

March 2020

Weekend weather in the Cape Fear region will be sunny and warm, according to the National Weather Service.  And it has authorities deeply concerned the temptations of spring will cause residents to ignore the statewide Stay At Home order.


Finding a way to serve people who are homeless is posing new problems in the age of COVID-19.  

Maintaining physical distance is increasingly difficult as shelters see higher demand.  

Beth Gaglione / Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina - Wilmington

Since last week, Governor Roy Cooper has handed down a statewide Stay At Home Order.  Some counties and municipalities have gone even further with stay-at-home guidance.  For example, New Hanover County has defined specific businesses that must close such as auto dealerships and hotels and motels. When there are discrepancies between the state and local orders, the more restrictive version takes precedence.  


Help is on the way for small businesses and families – from the state and from federal stimulus checks.  But there’s more.  North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has issued a new Executive Order to help people worried about paying bills on April 1st. 

Governor Roy Cooper has issued a statewide Executive Order.   It requires all North Carolinians to stay at home except for absolute necessities. 


Coronavirus Edition #2.  So much has changed in a week.  Many more people are working from home – or not working at all.  North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has lowered the threshold for mass gatherings from 100 to 50.  He’s ordered more business closures – gyms, movie theaters, salons.  He’s extended public school closures to May 15th. 


As North Carolina sees the number of positive COVID-19 tests rise – now over 600 cases covering more than half of the state – officials continue to emphasize social distancing.  

Rachel Keith

The North Carolina death toll from COVID-19 is now two.  In a recent media briefing, Governor Roy Cooper reminds people that these deaths are just the beginning.  


Widespread testing for COVID-19 is a strategy that works in the first phase of a pandemic – containment.  But that’s not where North Carolina health officials are now.  WHQR speaks with New Hanover Regional Medical Center Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Kamitsuka about what this mitigation phase means. 


North Carolina’s strategy in the battle against COVID-19 is changing.  Widespread testing is no longer helpful.  As the state moves from containment to mitigation, health officials are prioritizing both testing and personal protective equipment.


Governor Roy Cooper has issued a new Executive Order that extends public school closures through May 15th and shuts down massage therapy, nail and hair salons, gyms, and movie theaters.  

U.S. Centers for Disease Control

As the Cape Fear region adjusts to Coronavirus precautions, each day brings a rise in the number of presumptive cases across the state.   But the narrow testing criteria makes it hard to measure the scope of infection in North Carolina.


As the coronavirus spreads across North Carolina, the battle moves into a new phase.  State officials say the response is no longer containment.  It's now mitigation. 

courtesy CDC

The unprecedented move, just days ago, to cancel events that might draw more than 100 people came from an Executive Order out of the North Carolina Governor’s office.  This statewide mandate is now enforceable, yet it’s hardly the most extreme measure officials have taken to slow the spread of the new coronavirus – known as COVID-19.  


With 63 presumptive cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina – spread across 18 counties, authorities are doing what they can to slow its spread.  But social distancing and shutting down schools and restaurants can’t stop the criminals hoping to turn a profit from a crisis.  


Governor Roy Cooper's Executive Order, announced Tuesday, requires all bars and restaurants in North Carolina to suspend dine-in services. 

There are 33 presumptive cases of novel Coronavirus in North Carolina.  While all schools in the state will remain closed for at least two weeks, the move raises real concerns about child welfare.

Adobe Stock

The count of COVID-19 cases in North Carolina is now at 33.  People presumed to have the novel Coronavirus are in 14 counties – with most of the cases still concentrated in the middle of the state. 

University of North Carolina Wilmington

As of Thursday afternoon, there is not yet a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the Cape Fear region.  But school officials are watching the situation closely.  

courtesy Professor Jennifer Le Zotte, UNCW

Women make up only a third of state legislators in the United States.  On Capitol Hill, the numbers are lower – with women holding only about 24% of Congressional seats.  But according to a recent UN Study, the number of female heads of government around the world is down by a third compared to five years ago.

North Carolina is now operating under a State of Emergency.  With seven presumptive cases of Coronavirus as of midday on Tuesday, state officials say it’s a critical moment in the outbreak.  The declaration comes as test kits are on backorder and the number of cases is expected to rise.

Joe Biden is now the clear front-runner for the Democratic Presidential nomination after Super Tuesday.  Michael Bloomberg dropped out Wednesday morning and endorsed Biden – and North Carolina has proven to be an important state in this development.  


Tuesday is Primary Day in North Carolina, and electioneers -- people stumping for their candidates at polling locations – say they’re seeing a steady flow of voters.  And despite their partisan passions, they are surprisingly devoid of vitriol.  At least on this day…